Turns out that it isn’t just babies that are at risk with BPA (bisphenol A) from their baby bottles; a new study from the journal PloS One concludes that BPA is also a very real concern in the fight against heart disease.
BPA is routinely used in polycarbonate plastic, including baby bottles, water bottles as well as used as a lining in soft drink cans. Bottom line… it’s pretty hard to not be exposed to the stuff. Recent changes have sought to ban BPA from baby bottles but the general consensus was that BPA in other plastic containers didn’t really pose a serious threat to the health of adults. Think again.
Tips for avoiding BPA:
- Look for the number 3, 6 or 7 on the bottom of all hard plastic containers (that includes baby bottles, sippy cups, food containers, water bottles, etc…). Avoid any and all containers with these numbers as they usually (not always but most of the time) denotes the use of BPA in the polycarbonate.
- Check your food containers. It doesn’t do a lot of good to avoid BPA and then store your leftovers in BPA contaminated Tupperwares and food containers.
- Never microwave in plastic containers.
- Do not run your plastic containers in the dishwasher. The high heat of the dishwasher accelerates the BPA leaching.
- Many companies are now labeling their polycarbonate plastic to make it clear if it is BPA-free. Get an aluminum or BPA free water bottle. You’ll keep BPA out of your system and help save the environment at the same time (those plastic water bottles end up making up a big part of the landfill and they take an eternity to decompose, leaching chemicals and other harmful substances in the process).
- Avoid canned goods as much as possible. Many cans are lined with epoxy resins to keep the metal from corroding. This lining often contains BPA. As manufacturers get onboard, you will find more and more cans that are labeled as “BPA free”, but these changes always take time.
- Try taking folic acid. Some recent studies seem to indicate that folic acid helps protect fetuses against the negative effects of BPA. It might also help protect you. Even if it doesn’t help to protect against BPA, it’s good for you and you probably could benefit from taken folic acid which is a form of B vitamin.
There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered with regards to BPA. Because of its properties, it is routinely used in many, many polycarbonates to add strength. Banning it altogether would, some argue, result in less effective protection, especially in sports products and certain safety products. BPA, they argue, is only a problem if it is somehow ingested and should, therefore be allowed in products that do not come into contact with food or drink.
The first step, one that is increasingly being taken, is to eliminate BPA from any and all food and drink related products. Once that has been done standard urine test results can show if we are still being exposed to BPA and appropriate steps and measures can then be taken. Meanwhile, alternates that are just as strong and safe will need to be discovered and produced. The ultimate goal is to eliminate BPA altogether.